Serendipitous Connections

2 07 2013

 

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I’m all grown up now, no kids to tow to rugby games or class performances , no parent-teacher lineups or other shared parental volunteer activities to set up friendships with other grown ups. It used to be easy to meet new folks – we were doing the same things at the same time, our kids hung out together, we got to know each other over backyard BBQs and such.

We could hide behind our kids to get us out of bad friendships or conversations or activities. We could meet people we wanted to without seeming creepy or forward. It was all so easy back then.

Now that’s all gone. I meet a few people through my kids but most of the time we travel in very different circles.

So I have to make new connections, and that’s tougher. I was blessed in that I was married to a military guy for years, whose modus operandi was to move me away from everyone I knew and then abandon me and go to work. It was the best thing to ever happen to a gal like me, who was able to fake it til I made it, but who spent a fair bit of her time humming “Whistle a Happy Tune” under her breath.

So I learned to get out there, talk to strangers (and even strangers), join things, keep busy. I took up strange interests – pottery, ukulele, volunteer stuff, writing – in the hope that I’d meet interesting people. I signed up for classes and pretended to study. I joined dating sites and chatted with many many strange men (and some lovely ones). I met people.

But often the connections are so happenstance they are unpredictable. One of my best gal pals I worked with years ago, only to find she’d moved to NS and was living a block away from where I’d moved to – I would never have found her save for a political event attended by her minister, where we got to chatting…

And my other BFF is a lass I met at a ukulele concert – we happened to sit beside one other, got talking about the Halifax Ukulele Gang, both decided we wanted to go, and we’ve been friends ever since.

It’s serendipitous and wonderful, miribilia, as Rob Brezsny would say.

And now threads fly out from me to all those places where I once was, where I have left friends and family, connecting me to people around the globe. Some of those threads are thin and worn, but so many of them hum brightly when I touch them, making me feel supported and part of that ineffable something bigger.

I still sing that song, though. But that’s a topic for another day.

 

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Non-negotiables in relationships…

27 02 2013

images-2It’s almost the end of February, and I have to say I’m glad – I’ve been participating in NaBloPoMo on the theme of love and relationships and my friends, reading the posts, call me to ask if I’m okay, check in about my mood, etc. I think they think I am heartbroken – but I’m not. In fact I am happy with things the way they are now – I’m free as a bird, able to meet new folks and get to know them, eager to learn new things and new people. Yep, still doing the dating thing and the associated hair tweezing and nostril hair trimming (honestly!) and searching for the perfect undergarment to make me look lithe and tall…(instead of the spherical current appearance), but overall, content.

I’ve enjoyed looking at the concepts of love and relationships, but, frankly, I’m more interested in other things. Friendship, purpose, life, music… Love is murky enough without having to come up with things for a blog post about it.

Next month’s theme is Risk. MUCH more exciting, and yet it also involves a bit about love and relationships, too. Because, really, entering a relationship involves taking a risk. Will you be able to stand each other long-term? Will they be able to stand you? How much time should you invest in figuring this out? As a friend said to me, there aren’t that many more moments left…how many should be spent with this person?

I don’t know that answer. I remember talking to another friend who discussed the concept of non-negotiables in a relationship – not a shopping list of what you want, cos that’s not realistic. Everyone at our age comes with lumps and bumps and oddities that you balance out in looking at the whole picture.

But it IS worth figuring out your non-negotiables, cos otherwise you can waste a lot of time rationalizing your choice and still come up uncomfortable.

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Here’s my list, for your amusement, and in no particular order. Maybe it will help with your adventures:

1. No addictions – no alcoholism, drug abuse, exercise addictions, over-reliance on motorcycles for manhood, no workaholism or addiction to porn.

2. No history of violence. No incarcerated time. No lawsuits pending.

3. If he has kids, he’s gotta love them, even if they don’t love him back.

4. No married folks. Preferably has respect for his ex. Understands his contribution to any failed relationships. Tidies up his own life before he tries to enter mine.

5. Capable of self-entertainment, has friends other than me, understands the concept of personal space, doesn’t need to be plastered all over me all the time.

6. Capable of plastering himself all over me sometimes.

7. Good kisser. Some say it can be taught, but if you haven’t learned by age 50, it ain’t happening, man. Sorry.

8. Financially responsible.

9. Intelligent, well-read, motivated. Curious about life.

10. Able to see the foolishness in life and laugh about it, and cherish the glory in life and laugh about it, as well.

Hmm. Seems like a long list, doesn’t it? But over the past few years, I’ve met many a person who ALMOST passes muster and I spend time with them, only to realize that if even one chunk is missing, I can feel it, like a hole in my tooth. I’ll worry at it and worry at it and never feel right.

So, fussy I shall stay, I guess. In the meantime, I’m meeting a bundle of interesting people, and that is enough.

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Why not take a risk and join in?





How Internet Porn Helped Me Land a Literary Agent

25 10 2012

How Internet Porn Helped Me Land a Literary Agent.

Great article! Well worth a read. Now I’m off to do something naughty on my computer, too…





Oh Holy Night

24 12 2011

It’s half past midnight on Christmas Eve, and I am awash in contentment, despite the somewhat sinister flowing scent of cooking fish in the apartment.

My boys are here with me, and one boy’s sweet girlfriend, and we’ve just had the screamingly funniest night watching a horrendously awful rendition of the Jungle Book at the Neptune Theatre – so bad we will, I’m sure, be quoting from it all week. “My friends are my friends from the jungle…”

And then youngest son and I went to 11 pm church, and sang our guts out at the carol parts and were asked to light the advent wreath and got more hugs from everyone in the church at the handshake of peace than you could shake a stick at.

It’s been fabulous already, and Christmas has just begun. I am so lucky to have these wonderful kids here, to know that I have friends and family here and there and that I live in  a place where I am safe and warm and have food and a comfy bed.

I’m sending my thoughts out to those who are struggling, who wish for the hugs and laughter I’ve had, who are working away from family or sailing the seas or in conflict zones and just wishing they could be home for Christmas or Hanukkah or just home just because, for that part of the 99% who could use just a little bit more. I vow I will do more for them, somehow, whether by writing or donating or helping or even just smiling.

God knows I owe her something.

And as for that daughter of mine, wherever she is tonight – for you I wish peace and love and harmony within yourself and without. I hope you come to realize that it isn’t important who you are, but what you do. You owe God, too. Whatever he or she may be. Life is meant for the giving.

Sending much love to all who give so very much to me, every day. And Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Solstice and more to you all. My heart is full to bursting.





Dear Dad….

18 06 2011

I don’t have many photos of my dad. He was always the one behind the camera, capturing out smiles and foolishness and big events and small ones. But I can see him in my mind’s eye, alas, all that I have left, since he’s been gone  25 years now and for some reason it still feels fresh. So, I thought, in honour of Father’s Day, I’d write him a wee note. He only wrote me one letter, but I still have it.  I hope wherever he is, he gets this one.

 

Dear Dad –

Thanks.

Thanks for teaching me that it’s okay to be silly, like all those times you’d hide behind bushes with one finger held out, trying to tempt a bird to alight. Or walk new pants around the store on their hangers to see how they walked. Or drink peppermint schnapps with me to help us get through another party.

Thanks for teaching me that Goethe’s belief that whatever you can dream you should just start isn’t just words. You taught me, us, so much – things you also taught to yourself.  Photography, pottery, canoeing, painting, gardening, drawing, birdwatching, building model boats, creating pendulums (pendulii?), making pyramids, playing the piano and guitar and recorder and clarinet, designing the AWACS systems.  You would think about something, and then make it so. I tried to follow, but your skills outflanked mine so that I’d become discouraged – but the lesson remained.  Now I throw myself into things that I think about and try them, not afraid.  Sometimes they work out better than other times, but at least I don’t hang back. You taught me that, and I love you for it. I’m still recovering from your confident sailing trip, though.  Won’t see me in a sailboat on Lake Washington anytime soon, especially in a gale.

Thanks for teaching me that a sense of humour is a must. From endless punning sessions to jokes around the dinner table or in front of unamused laughing gulls, you made me laugh. I remember short-sheeting your bed as a joke when you and the family came back from camping.  I didn’t know my sister had dropped the camper on your toe and broken it…. After the shouting when you pushed your toe against the folded sheet, you laughed – we laughed together. (I got you a bunch of times. I remember putting the “Sexy Senior Citizen” license plate on the front of the car, replacing the one with crossed Canadian and US flags. You didn’t figure it out til you were bragging about your classy license plate to colleagues and they were singularly unimpressed. )(you got me, too.)

You’d come home with tales of woe, told in sorrowful tones, specifically so we could laugh together. You honed my wit. You made me funny and quick and thoughtful.

Thank you for not dying that first time you almost did. I still need you now, but then, we would all have been shattered even more. You fought, though, taking on doses of chemotherapy that would have “killed a lesser man”.  You were brave beyond imagining. I still will never forgive you for blaming me for driving you and your collapsing spine deliberately over potholes – but I probably deserved it for all the other times I teased you.

Thank you too, for always getting my sister the things I wanted for Christmas. Yes, seems cruel. But by doing that, you taught me to take pleasure in the things that life did give me, to find pleasures and gifts in the everyday, and to be grateful that you knew me well enough to know what I truly needed and wanted. And you made me tough, so that when I didn’t get what I wanted out of life sometimes, I could grin and bear it. And I still get a chuckle at the look on my brother’s face when he realized his present would only work if he gave away something to his younger siblings in trade for something they unwrapped. Ah, Christmas. I’m still in therapy.

I am your daughter, dad. Strangely, though I felt you always liked my siblings best, you became a part of me. Yeah, I’d make myself scarce when you wanted to show me how to fix a toaster – and I still regret that, 14 toasters later! – but I was watching and learning.  As my kids will tell you, some things I learned almost too well. They’re coping.  But we don’t discuss marshmallows much. Don’t ask. I have at least 10 minutes in hell for that one.

Every Father’s Day, I wish I’d had longer with you.  Then I go try something new or paint something or laugh, and I realize you are here always. And that’s the best gift you could give me.  Best thing of all? You gave it to all we kids, each in our own way.  No fighting. Well, not much, anyway.

Love always,

DA

 

 





My Land! as my mother would say. Suddenly all is explained….

9 01 2011

Witzelsucht

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Witzelsucht, from the German witzeln, meaning to joke or wisecrack, and sucht meaning addiction or yearning, is a set of rare neurological symptoms characterized by the patient’s uncontrollable tendency to make puns, tell inappropriate jokes and pointless or irrelevant stories at inconvenient moments. The patient nevertheless finds these utterances intensely amusing. It is associated with small lesions of the orbitofrontal cortex.[1]

It is distinguished from pathologic laughing by virtue of congruent affective experience and expression, and an admixture of irritability and mirth. It is most commonly seen in patients withfrontal lobe disease or injury, particularly right frontal lobe tumors or trauma. Elderly people are very prone to this disorder because of the decreased mass of their gray tissue. For instance, the stereotype of the wise-cracking grandfather may have originated from this as it became a common part of every day life.

^ Mendez, M.D., Ph.D, Mario F (2005). Moria and Witzelsucht from Frontotemporal Dementia. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences.

Wow.  I can relate.  I think this is a familial disorder, having spent entire days trapped in the back seat of my dad’s car, driving somewhere, while he and my brother traded execrable puns until I cried for mercy. I have a friend who is unable to control his punning, and I fear for him, mainly because I have a fireplace in my house and thus a poker.

I’ve been known to “approach others without apprehension” and to share stories inappropriately with complete strangers. I touch strangers. I laugh at things immoderately.

I suppose this may all have something to do with those little lesions in my head thanks to MS – or maybe it’s damage caused by being raised on a steady diet of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers and Benny Hill and Laugh-In. Obviously there are some strange linkages in my head that have been reinforced – much like learning a new language, where practice makes perfect.

The case report is scary.  And here I thought I was just being friendly:

“A 57-year-old right-handed female had a 2-year personality change described as increased gregariousness, excitement, and a tendency to indiscriminately approach strangers without apprehension. She had become the life of the party and would laugh, joke, and sing all the time. The patient had decreased self-care and hygiene and wore the same clothes every day. In addition, she had developed a compulsive tendency, particularly with hoarding of money, and an addiction to ice cream with marked weight gain.”

Of course, I have no evidence of hoarding of money. That just isn’t happening.

But I work at home and have been known to dress similarly day after day. And I love ice cream…

There’s hope for me yet.  I haven’t started to pun. Please, stop me before it is too late……;-)

And how I wish I’d named my puppy this….








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